Alice Cooper--a veritable god in the music pantheon. 40+ years later and he's still relavent and touring the world. Bob Dylan once called Alice the most underated song writer of the day (that was the early 80s) which i very much agree with-especially The Eyes of Alice Cooper and Brutal Planet albums.
Alice In Chains--i was always annoyed that they got pigeonholed into grunge just because they're from Seattle. i love how dark many of their songs are, especially the ones written by Layne Staley. i think Black Gives Way to Blue is my favorite of their albums, but i definetly miss Layne's lyrics.
Arkona--an incredible pagan/folk metal band from Russia. the vocal range of Masha Scream is amazing--from operatic harmonies to death metal gutteral brutality. there's also a great diversity of feel from song-to-song. the happy-go-lucky vibe of "Stenka Na Stenku (Wall to Wall)", the spiritual call of "Slavia Rus", to the dark and brooding feeling of "Kolo Nav (Kolo of Nav)". but for me, the jewel in the crown of Arkona is "Na Moey Zemle (In My Land)" a 15 minute epic about a warrior who leaves his homeland to journey westward to find what makes one happy in other lands. as the song progresses (featuring the likes of Heidevolk, Manegarm, Obtest and others singing in their native tongues) he learns that what makes these odd people happy is the same as in his homeland.
The Beatles--i don't really think explaination is in order here.
Bob Dylan--i still prefer to hear other people sing his songs, but i think his voice has gotten better as he's gotten older.
Eluveitie--a Swiss folk metal band. my introduction to them was the song "Inis Mona" (the old Celtic name for the Isle of Anglesey). usually death metal vocals annoy me, but Chriegal Glanzzman has the ability to actually change keys and notes while doing it which i find absolutely wonderful. they were the first folk metal act i ever heard and i couldn't believe my ears hearing bagpipes, flutes, violins, hurdy-gurdy, and metal blended together.
Glittertind--a Norwegian folk metal band that concetrates very hard on late period pagan Norway and early period Christian Norway and the cultural shifts that go with it. as their guitarist and co-lead vocalist explains: "Glittertind understands that folk is first and foremost life affirming as opposed to hateful, morbid, anti-social, suicidal and racist. It is also simple and realistic - just like punk."
Guns N Roses--Izzy's arrangements with Axl's lyrics with Slash and Duff's music. too bad they can't get along with a soberish Axl Rose.
Here Come the Mummies--they're just fun.
Izzy Stradlin--it amazes me how many of his solo songs show the most dominant aspect of his personality: his shyness.
Kontrust--they're hard to explain. but they're Austrian (excpet the female vocalist who's Polish), and with that information, their odd styling makes far more sense. i would have thought mixing thrash metal, euro-dance, reggae, and hip-hop into one song and making it seemless would have been impossible. they however prove me wrong.
Korpiklaani--fun with Finnish folk/pagan metal. misrepresented heavily by English language media for being a party thrash band because of songs like "Happy Little Boozer" and "Beer Beer," but just one song out of 12 has to do with drinking (and in the case of "Tequila" it's not about drinking, it's about their first South American tour) and 11 songs about Finnish folk lore or singer Jonne Jarvella's expierience living with the Lapps. "Lonkaluut (Hipbones)" is one of the greatest songs i've ever heard, and i can't disgaree with its premise that the hips are the most important part of ancient life.
Megadeth--everyone knows that Dave Mustaine can play, but i think he is one of the best lyricists ever. if you don't know it coming in "My Kingdom" just sounds like your normal bit of fantasy, but there's a hint in the song and the track before it (Shadow of Deth) that tell you this is actually about the end days of King Arthur Pendragon.
Savatage/Jon Oliva/Trans-Siberian Orchestra--possibly my favorite band ever (in Savatage and Jon Oliva). there are three eras essentialy: thrash, progressive, and conceptual with a bit of overlap mixed in. i think Jon Oliva is the most underrated musician and lyricsyst i've ever heard.
Paul Simon--great lyrics and great harmonies without being corny, gotta love it.
Shadows Fall--the kings of American thrash metal, Brian Fair's switching
between clean vocals and thrash vocals i find hypnotic on most songs. i also like that they don't hide their Buddhist and Taoist influences in their lyrics.
Skyclad--one of the bands i've somewhat recently discovered, they're actually the pioneer and proginator of folk metal (along with Bathory). i love the double meanings to many of their songs, such as "Inequality Street" and "Thinking Aloud."
Slash--i think his career speaks for itself, to some he's overrated, to a few others he's somehow underrated. i think he gets overrated on his playing ability and underrated on his ability to write memorable songs.
Tom Petty--i don't know why i love Tom Petty's music as much as i do, but there's very few of his songs that i do not like.
Tyr--a Viking metal band from the Faroe Islands. the overwhelming majority of their songs have to do with Faroese legend and Nordic mythology. "Eric the Red" is one of the best arguments i have ever heard.
Willie Nelson--i could have just as easily put Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Steve Earle, Merle Haggard, George Jones, or Bob Wayne here cause that's the style of country i love.